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There Was a Surge in Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence During Stonewall’s 50th

There Was a Surge in Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence During Stonewall's 50th

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots was a time for the LGBTQ+ community to reflect on the legacy of activists like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and look to the challenges that lay ahead. In 1969, patrons protested after law enforcement officials raided the famed West Village gay bar for the second time in a week, leading to a six-day clash with New York City police.

But according to a new report by the Anti-Violence Project (AVP), the need to continue fighting for justice is more apparent than ever.

At least 14 LGBTQ people were killed between May 15 and July 15, as the New York-based advocacy group claims in a survey released Wednesday. This tally includes seven Black transgender women: Mulaysia Booker, Michelle Washington, Chanel Scurlock, Chynal Lindsey, Zoe Spears, and Brooklyn Lindsay. Two homicide victims were Black gay men: Alunte Davis and Brian Anderson.

That tally is “more than three times the hate violence homicides recorded between January 1 and May 14, 2019,” as AVP reports.

However, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community during the period surveyed were not limited to homicides. Two transgender women of color, Johana Medina and Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, lost their lives as a result of treatment in U.S. detention centers. Medina, an HIV-positive asylum seeker fleeing El Salvador, died in an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Texas on June 1. Cubilette-Polanco was found dead in a Rikers Island prison cell six days later.

In addition, white supremacists and hate groups were responsible for 22 protests at Pride events or events highlighting the LGBTQ+ community. The vast majority of these — 81 percent — were demonstrations against Drag Queen Story Hour events in which drag performers read to children, many of which AVP claims were organized by the far-right group MassResistance.

“Collectively, all of these incidents demonstrate the growing hostility, backlash, and sinister nature of many of the far right’s efforts against the [LGBTQ+] community,” the advocacy group claims.

According to the organization, these findings should be a call to address the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ+ hate across the nation.

“It’s important to remember that violence against the [LGBTQ+] communities continues and in some cases is intensifying,” says Executive Director Beverly Tillery in a statement. “This snapshot provides another window into the various forms of violence our community faces and shows how the visibility of Pride season can sometimes lead to greater targeting and attacks.” 

While the report does not specifically mention the current occupant of the Oval Office, multiple studies have shown that attacks on minority and marginalized people have increased since President Donald Trump took office in 2017. 

According to a study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE), hate crimes shot up nine percent last year, the largest such spike since 2015. The California State University San Bernardino think tank found it was the fifth consecutive year in which reports of violent bias attacks increased.

More than a dozen LGBTQ+ community centers have also been targeted since Trump’s election, including centers in California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

You can read the full report on AVP’s website.

RELATED | LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes Are on the Rise — In Numbers and Severity

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